Attention Brooklynites and Manhattanites and all plant-based eaters who live in a big city; chain grocery stores aren’t your only option for healthy vegan shopping. Gone are the days when Whole Foods was the number one destination for all veggie eaters, although we do still love perusing through the hot foods section. Grocery shopping can be done in a variety of places these days, from CVS to the Dollar Store.
Whether you’re on a road trip, trying to find a late night snack, or simply don’t have access or time to get to a bigger grocery store, 24-hour bodegas, delis, or convenience stores are often the only options for sustenance when it comes to healthy eating. Obviously, you want to make a healthy choice, but what’s actually healthy in a bodega? Luckily for you and others that may be on a budget, The Healthy Bodegas Initiative has increased the availability of nutritious food.
So, forget old-fashioned bodega sandwiches, and look to these healthy vegan choices plus recipes you can recreate from our Food Monster App!
Not every bodega is treated equally. Some will have a wider selection of fresh vegetables, from cucumber and avocado to tomatoes and spinach leaves. Just make sure you rinse them first before using. But if you’re in the middle of the city, you’ll have to dig a little deeper for vegetables. Canned vegetables are also an option. Look for corn, carrots, diced tomatoes, a jar of mushrooms, a jar of red roasted peppers, black beans, and a can of green beans.
With all of these, you can easily make a stir-fry, like this Ultimate Teriyaki Stir-Fry or this 10-Minute Veggie Stir-Fry. Black beans can luckily be used in so many things. Try a Hearty 15-Bean and Vegetable Soup or a 15-Minute Garlicky Pepper Mushroom Stir-Fry for quick eating or this Black Bean Tofu and Red Peppers.
You may not have the healthiest of options at a bodega, especially your typical corner store location, but you can find snacks here that will last you a while. Clif Bars, nuts like almonds and pecans and pistachios are readily available for you to buy! You can also find popcorn, just watch out for those coated with milk, and trail mix. Lucky for those of us that are hummus obsessed, you’ll often be able to find pretzels that come with a hummus dip.
If you want to make your own snacks at home, try these Creamy White Bean Hummus With Kumquat, 5-Ingredient Zucchini Chips, Protein Chocolate Granola Bars, Roasted Garlic Hummus, these Banana Almond Butter Pretzel Bites and this Chewy Doughy Pretzel Bites.
Pasta is cheap, easy to find and quick to cook at home. Almost every corner store has pasta noodles, whether spaghetti, or shells, that you can find on a shelf. Always make sure to check expiration dates first! In the canned foods section, you’re sure to find pasta sauce. You can use diced tomatoes, marinara sauce or tomato paste, just check the ingredients for added milk products or egg.
Use the pasta ingredients you found and create a variety of dishes. For added flavor, add any of the vegetables we listed earlier. Create this Spaghetti Bolognese, Creamy Almond Butter Tomato Pasta, Garlicky Cauliflower Lentil Pasta or this Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccine.
Bodegas sometimes have a plethora of soup options; from tomato and vegetable broth to vegetable lentil and black bean. Whatever soup you find is sure to be affordable, so get a few cans and you can save the leftovers for later. There are a lot of ways to spruce up soups! Add fresh vegetables, seasonings, and spices to make the ultimate lunch for your family and you.
Want to make some soup at home? Try this Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup, Bengali Tomato Chutney with Ginger, Tomato and Mushroom Tortellini Soup, this Curried Mushroom Barley Lentil Soup with Spinach and this Turkish Tomato, Bulgur, and Red Pepper Soup.
For more budget-friendly shopping, look to our How To Shop For A Whole Week At Whole Foods Under $50! and this How to Shop For A Whole Week At The Dollar Store For $30!
Check out some more budget-friendly tips for more ideas and feel free to share your own!
See? You don’t have to break the bank if you’re on a budget! The Food Monster app has over 8000+ recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8000+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!
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